SURFING: Keely Andrew is un-sponsored and relatively unknown, but not for long if her performance at the Roxy Pro is anything to go by.
The World Championship Tour newcomer is today expected to compete in round four at Snapper Rocks, where she stunned six-time world champion and Australian surfing icon Stephanie Gilmore in round one on Saturday.
That performance certainly caught the attention of those beachside and watching online.
They suddenly wanted to know more about the young Sunshine Coast rider who is the only Queensland born-and-bred athlete on this year's women's tour.
It's hoped a major backer or two will get behind her.
"She's un-sponsored at the moment so there's a little bit of a 'you guys (sponsors) are missing out' attitude when she surfs," her manager Zac Reynolds said.
"That's great and it's the sort of attitude you need to be knocking off the top girls. She's very determined."
Indeed, Andrew seems to have no fear when it comes to competing on the big stage.
She filled in for an injured Gilmore in a selection of tour events last year and relished the occasions, snaring fifth place at one stop in Brazil.
The 21-year-old produced a stirring run through last year's Qualifying Series to claim a spot on the tour proper for this year.
It's her maiden campaign on the big stage but she's undaunted.
"She's kept her feet pretty firmly on the ground," Reynolds said. "She hasn't got too excited."
And she wants more than a one-off win against a multiple world title-holder.
"It (beating Gilmore) was a good confidence booster (but) she knows it's only a quarter of the way done," Reynolds said.
"She's pretty determined to go a lot further in the competition and then in all the other events, especially in the Australian ones."
Andrew appears to have that 'killer' instinct too. She showed it when she caught a crucial wave with 30 seconds left against Gilmore, 28.
"She's got a knack of winning a lot of heats (like that), which is promising," Reynolds said.
Andrew was 12 when Gilmore won her first world title in 2007.
"She hadn't competed in surfing at all but saw Steph win her first world title and said 'this is what I want to do," Reynolds said.
"But she didn't compete until she was 15. She's probably still a few years off her best."
Gilmore survived elimination in the event and the two are still among 12 women left in the draw on the Gold Coast.
Andrew is set to meet with 2015 world number 16, American Sage Erickson, today.
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